Dr Cindy Forbes


Career Development Research Fellow

Role at Hull York Medical School

Dr. Forbes joined Hull York Medical School in 2018 as a Career Development Research Fellow with the Yorkshire Cancer Research funded TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire project. In 2023, she became a Lecturer in Physical Activity. She is also part of the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and the Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research at the University of Hull.


Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, Cindy completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Kinetics at St Franicis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia and continued her graduate training at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. After completing her PhD in 2015 in Exercise Oncology, she then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In 2017, she was awarded a Visiting Research Fellowship with the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia that was awarded as part of the Australian Government’s Endeavour Scholar program. Then in 2019, she was awarded a place as an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) funded GetAMoveOn Fellowship. The GetAMoveOn Network aims to transform health through enabling mobility with the help of digital technologies.

Cindy’s TRANSFORM Career Development Research Fellowship looked at how physical activity can help improve quality of life and cancer-related outcomes in people living with and beyond cancer, and how digital technology can help support and maintain activity behaviours. Cindy’s Lecturership in HYMS is continuing this line of research whilst adding nutrition behaviour, equally important when considering benefit for physical function among people diagnosed with cancer.


Cindy’s main area of research is examining the role of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and nutrition behaviour on quality of life and cancer-related outcomes among people living with and beyond cancer, particularly among older adults and people with advanced or incurable disease. Additionally, she is looking at how digital technologies – for example, wearable activity trackers, smartphones, and other smart devices – can be used to deliver tailored wellbeing advice and support wellbeing self-management.


A full list of publications and presentations can be found on Cindy’s ORCID and ResearchGate profiles.


Cindy’s previous fellowship awards and activities, conference and workshop attendance, and social media engagement has allowed her to foster professional relationships with researchers around the world. She is currently collaborating on different projects with researchers in Australia, Canada, Europe, and UK. Selected collaborations highlighted below.

United Kingdom 

GetAMoveOn Network: UK-wide (Bath, Cardiff, Northumbria), to investigate how cancer survivors use wearable activity trackers, and how they can be used them to help people form activity habits.

CANFit – Yorkshire wide collaboration among academic and clinical researchers to examine the potential of home-based physical activity to help reduce recurrence in early-stage, high risk breast, bowel, or lung cancer.


Collaborators from UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands conducted a systematic review investigating the potential inequalities associated with using digital technology in health (published in Obesity Reviews). This group was awarded a small amount of funding to continue this collaboration with future reviews. Additionally, another collaboration with another group from Germany is investigating social implications of wearable activity monitors in palliative care settings.

A group from Germany, UK, USA, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia established the Digital Divide in Health Promotion Network, including academics spanning 13 countries from 6 continents, and met for a workshop in June 2023 in Germany and published two papers since November 2023.

In 2017, Cindy was awarded a very competitive Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship award from the Government of Australia. At the University of Adelaide in South Australia, she further developed my keen interest in using digital technology to support and deliver lifestyle behaviour change programmes by adapting a sophisticated web-based platform capable of delivering tailored support to be used among Canadian women with breast cancer (PI) and Australian men with metastatic prostate cancer (CoI).

Additionally, Cindy has collaborators from Australia from University Technology Sydney and Deakin University looking at activity interventions among advanced or incurable cancers and the potential use of digital technologies to remotely deliver wellbeing programmes to people with a cancer diagnosis.

Postgraduate research supervision

Cindy is interested in supervising students that have an interest in looking at how lifestyle behaviours (i.e physical activity, sedentary behaviour, or nutrition behaviour) and/or digital technology can help support people living with and beyond cancer.

Current and past supervisions

Postgraduate research students


Jordan Curry, PhD Medical Sciences. 2019- 2024. Hull York Medical School. Project: Effect of physical activity and sedentary behaviour on quality of life in cancer survivorship: feasibility of online-delivered, computer tailored activity and nutrition programs. Primary Supervisor.

Holly Evans, PhD student. 2018-2021. University of Adelaide. Project: Tailored, home-based physical activity programmes for men with metastatic prostate cancer. Supervisory Committee Member.

MSc Students

1. Ibrahim Oladiti. MSc AI & Data Science. 2023, awarded. Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE). Project: Predicting frailty in among people with cancer: ukbiobank study. Second Supervisor.

2. Priscillia Onyibeh, MSc AI & Data Science. 2023, awarded. FSE. Project: Identifying behavioural clusters associated with cancer incidence: ukbiobank study. Second Supervisor.

3. Ibukunoluwa Mafe, MSc AI & Data Science. 2023, awarded. FSE. Project: Breathlessness and health service utilisation: ukbiobank study. Second Supervisor.

4. Tomilola Olanisebe, MSc Cardiovascular Rehabilitation. 2023, awarded. Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS). Project: Associations among physical activity and body composition among people with a cancer diagnosis: a ukbiobank study. Second Supervisor.

5. Josna Moonjappilly Joseph, MSc Cardiovascular Rehabilitation. 2023, awarded. FHS. Project: Associations between physical activity and mental health in cancer survivors: a ukbiobank study. Second Supervisor.

6. Alessandro Recchioni, MSc Medical Sciences. 2020, part-time in progress. HYMS. Project: Barriers and facilitators of breathlessness digital self-management interventions in lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients - a systematic review and narrative synthesis. Expert Advisor Panel Member.

7. Samantha Ruilova, MSc Cancer Rehabilitation. 2019-2020. Awarded (now doing a PhD at University of Hull). FHS. Project: Effect of relocating sedentary time to moderate activity, vigorous activity, walking, or sleep among people with cancer. Second Supervisor.

Honours and awards

Fellowship and Prizes

University of Hull, Faculty of Health Sciences, Developing Researcher of the Year, £500, (2022).

GetAMoveOn Network+, Early Career GetAMoveOn Fellow, (2019).

Yorkshire Cancer Research, Career Development Fellowship, £385,895GBP – 5-year Fellowship (2018).

Government of Australia, Endeavour Research Fellowship, $24,500AUD – 6 months visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (2017).

Dalhousie University, Department of Medicine, University Internal Medicine Research Fund, Internal Research Fellowship, $25,000/year (2016-2018).

Oncology Nursing Society, Excellence in Writing Award for Quantitative Nursing Research $1000USD (for PhD paper: Prevalence and Correlates of Strength Exercise among Breast, Prostate, and Colorectal Cancer Survivors, 2016).